This is one of the things that has been so enjoyable about watching the Boris Johnson administration in action. It’s like watching Odysseus returning to Ithaca and clearing his court of all the wastrels, louts, and spendthrifts who have taken over in his absence; it’s like witnessing the Restoration of Charles II after years in which Britain had been in thrall to hatchet-faced, Christmas-and-Maypole-banning Puritans; it’s like Britain once more becoming the place we used to know and love before the social justice warriors and race-baiters and cry-bullies and diversity officers and sustainability consultants almost went and ruined everything.
Watching the new gang — Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg especially — competing in the Commons last week to see who could most wittily and imaginatively put down the Opposition, I was reminded of the good old days at the Oxford Union when Oxford was still a halfway decent university and hadn’t completely surrendered to whiny, entitled Communists.
The swagger, the confidence, the bantering good humour — where making your point is all very well, but what matters far more is the style and wit with which you do it — reminded me how much we’ve been missing in Parliament all these years as MPs with class and hinterland and oratorical skills were edged out by career-safe, virtue-signalling placemen and placewomen.
What we’re seeing happening in British politics now is very similar to what the U.S. has been experiencing under Donald Trump — only done in an English way. The bubble of pomposity has been pricked by our new God-Emperors of banter.
I really wish that this was true. I really wish that we were living in a new Restoration. I really, really wish that Britain was once more becoming the place we used to know and love.
But it’s not. It can only become that if the 2007 smoking ban is repealed, and pubs and restaurants and clubs can decide for themselves whether or not to permit smoking.
And Boris Johnson has no plans to do anything like that. So there will be no restoration. In fact, one of the last acts of the outgoing Theresa May was to put forward a proposal, which I mentioned here and here, to make Britain completely “smoke-free” by 2030.
The hatchet-faced, Christmas-and-Maypole-banning Puritans are all still here, and they are all still in government. And Theresa May was just one of them, one of many.
Nothing has really changed at all.
The plain fact of the matter is that firstly the government of David Cameron wasn’t really a conservative government, but a progressive-lite government. And the same as true of Theresa May’s government. They continued where Tony Blair left off. And most likely Boris is going to be the same. He’ll just be a bit more stylish about it. He’ll quote Horace and Seneca and Euripides.
As James Delingpole pointed out about Boris a couple of months ago:
What is a conservative doing buying into the hard-left snake-oil narrative that there’s an alternative to free market capitalism, that it’s called “green growth” and that it represents any kind of opportunity?
What is a conservative doing embracing the politicised junk science of the UNFCC’s Conference of the Parties (COP) — the green junket which gave us such nonsense as the Paris Climate Accord (from which President Trump very sensibly withdrew the U.S.)?
What is a conservative doing trying to legislate for net zero emissions in the absence of a) convincing proof that the harmless trace gas carbon dioxide represents any kind of threat to the planet and b) when so far all the evidence suggests that ‘decarbonisation’ is causing immense harm and suffering both to the environment (bat-chomping bird-slicing, eco-crucifixes) and to people’s living standards?
So why the gushing enthusiasm for Boris’ “Restoration”?
There isn’t going to be any Restoration. David Cameron was a big disappointment in this respect. And Theresa May was an even bigger disappointment.
I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect Boris Johnson is going to turn out to be the biggest disappointment of all.